Calling out the vendors: Lessons learned
I’m pretty impressed with a recent series of events where respected L&D community member Judy Katz called out vendor MindFlash on their rather interesting “engagement measurement/assistance” tool, FocusAssist. The tool was discussed in this article from Learning Solutions Magazine.
So, I learned a few things by watching this drama unfold, and by participating.
1. The L&D community appreciates the benefits of EdTech, but is also profoundly aware of the scary possibilities when the (potentially) wrong kind of tech is introduced to educational settings with (seemingly) little thought on impact and abuses.
2. We are quick to stand up for one another. It’s a nice thing to know that folks like @aaronesilvers, @moehlert, @reubentozman, and others will have your back when it’s needed (and sometimes even when you don’t know you need it).
3. There are some vendors who aren’t afraid to think outside the box and try solutions, even ones that may not be widely understood. It’s about prototyping and learning from the experience.
4. Judging from the positive and appreciative response from the vendor, it reinforces the notion that, as a community, we shouldn’t be afraid to call vendors out when we see something that doesn’t necessarily fit with our values and notions of what is right. There’s a two-fold value in doing so: i) we start thinking a little more critically about what we see, and ii) we learn a bit more about the vendor through their response (or lack of response).
5. Social technologies and an engaged L&D community can make things happen pretty quickly. So, kudos to Judy for raising the issue, and equal kudos to Randhir Vieira from MindFlash, not only for joining the conversation, but also for being open about what they don’t know. I think that speaks well of them.
It was interesting to watching this all unfold. It will be equally interesting to see if the conversation continues.